Mastering volcano action!

We interrupt these Yoga-centric posts with this – Volcano pics & a movement observation that was really relevant for me.

Last year Andres planned to propose at the top of the Ijen crater in Java when I mentioned that our retreat group was eager to do the trek from Bali to the summit.

Once our group realised how this would, in all probability, be an all night adventure starting at 11pm on the Bali side & ending at 11am back in our beds, we decided to give it a skip.

The proposal was no less special but in the back of our minds, Andres & I were still keen to own this experience one day.

Fast forward a year later – 2016 Bali Bliss Yoga Retreat was the perfect opportunity to take a few days to ourselves afterwards & make sure we ticked this one off for Andres’ 40th. It was absolutely worth it & a unique experience.  Summiting at night is a must – very Lord of the Rings when you go into the crater!

From a physical point of view, it wasn’t the longest climb although there were some prolonged steep moments. I’ve never been much of a climber, having abandoned Table Mountain 20 minutes after starting in 2000 & feeling like a heart attack was imminent in the first 40min of climbing up Lions Head in 2008. I was nervous about getting up this one.

Here’s what saved me… (looking at the pics, a smart arse would probably say ‘the gas mask’, but we had to get up there first!)

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My reward: Photoshoot

After an entire shift in life & career 3 years ago, & 7 years of exploring & growing into the world of Yoga, Thai Yoga Massage, AcroYoga, & now Neuromyofascia Pilates, I finally chose Heather Bonkers phenomenal photography talent as a gift to myself – first pro Yoga shoot 😊

Fresh off leading our second Bali Bliss Yoga retreat, it felt like the right moment to freeze frame & suspend the time & phase of the journey. I could never have anticipated this path & its capacity to fascinate & fulfill me daily!

Heather is in Bali for the Summer but also teaches in Abu Dhabi. She’s an effortless master of her art & I love the variety that she finds in poses, settings, & perspectives. Book her time & talent – you’re worth it & she certainly is, too!

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Bali retreat 2016: On top of the Yoga…

A retreat is many things:

  • Escaping routine & transporting yourself away from one reality to treat yourself with another.
  • Leaving behind regular stresses that affect body & mind.
  • Taking a step back to assess who you are, how you are doing, & what it may be time to let go of or what you may want to encourage more of in your life.
  • Or it could simply be about escape, relaxation, new conversations, & fun!

It’s also about the body being able to open, move, & embrace different activities without
returning to stress states.

The island of Bali is perfect for this & our location choice this year, The Menjangan Resort in the Menjangan National Forest reserve, was absolutely ideal. By the end of the week, every cell in our bodies had been opened through Yoga, deeper breathing, laughter, & a host of other activities that we like to include for our participants:

  • snorkeling
  • horse riding
  • trail walking
  • massage
  • canoe trips
  • diving
  • healthy food!

Some pictures of the other elements of the retreat that filled in the space between our morning & evening Yoga sessions.

Leading this retreat was (& is always!) an absolute highlight of my year &, though we cherry pick the location every year, it’s almost as if the participants are specially chosen, too – simply as those who seize the moment to respond to the calling & join us!

Every sight, sound, breath, move, class, meal, walk, conversation, & person was something to treasure & file away in a very, very rich memory bank!

 

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Bali retreat 2016: Inspired by nature!

The Menjangan Resort in Pemuteran was our location for the Bali Bliss Yoga Retreat of 2016. It was nothing short of incredible!

What kind of sunrises & sunsets greet us in the North of Bali? I get to arrive a little earlier than our participants to make sure that set up is ready for a seamless start to the session. Bonus? Seeing the full sunrise colours from start to finish!

This is a taste of our beautiful Yoga spaces that we had for our 7am & 5:30pm classes. On the few nights that it rained, we were indoors with transparent plastic walls – perfect to hear the sounds of the forest as it came awake to water!

Morning had us inhaling the lush green canopy below our Yoga deck, with a private breakfast set up for us in the same space straight after we finished.

Our sunset view was overlooking the sea & volcanoes of Java – enough nature & beauty of the earth to inspire us during every breath & move!

Bali is always paradise. Every time I wonder how we’ll find anything to top the experience, & the following year magic happens all over again! Plans for 2017 are already in the making…

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Lux AcroYoga weekend 2016

As anyone who has spent time diving deeper into a practice or study of something that they are passionate about will know, you can begin to feel exactly when knowledge is mastered – true, pure, fewer words, & extremely valuable.

We felt this the moment that we met & experienced the teaching of Lux (@Luxseattleacro) in 2015, but we’d already heard about it via the acro grapevine.

To be fair, you only have to watch his videos on You Tube & Acropedia, or spend some time following the trail of other teachers back to their original influencers… & it would lead you in some way to Lux.

So convincing him to come to Dubai for a second year in a row had us thrilled already. And working through this weekend proved, yet again, that a master in a subject can lead you, in a shorter time, to greater places in a faster or steadier progression.

But more importantly, that a master doesn’t see the need to rush in the first place… it’s firm foundations that will guarantee your quality & end result.

Happiness was this weekend for all of us who are inspired by this body flow of acrobatics made zen! The wisdom was profound. The moves were exquisite. The techniques were illuminating. The knowledge is ours to practice!

P.s – working on securing him for 2017 already…:)

 

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A gift of change…

I love to find a relevant & special gift for someone.

Without trying to be too sing-song about it, what keeps me loving this work is that every session I teach is with the approach of imparting a gift of some sort… relevant knowledge (an ‘aha!’ of how something is really beneficial), understanding a connection (‘oh THAT’s what it should feel like!’), insight, a delicious sequence or stretch, or something that is adding value to our time spent together.

So here’s a reminder that you might want to gift someone a session… Yoga, Pilates, AcroYoga. No matter their level, there is always insight to be had about the way that they move & what is happening in their pattern of movement.

How do you feel something better? Avoid pain or tightness? Improve performance or wellbeing through better flexibility, openness, breathing, strength, connectivity?

We can help with that. And an hour of undivided attention & specialised knowledge for the well-being of someone special to you? Well, that’s a perfect gift 🙂

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Filming, though we’re not quite famous!

April every year is when the film industry seems to come alive with the need for Yogi’s in the backdrop of an advert for Dubai. So I feel like I could add ‘casting recruiter’ & ‘cast management’ to my resume – there’s been enough experience!

The reality of it is a couple of hours of hanging around to repeat the same sequence over & over, yelling the instructions for poses & counting down the hold to synchronise everyones movements in a very un-yoga like way!

And trying to stay warmed up throughout because the next day you are guaranteed to feel what it is like to be pushing into your full range in a body that wasn’t steadily built up to that point.

And probably the MOST important piece of information is – don’t get hung up on where you are positioned & what role you are playing. It’s a 10 second advert, max, & we are the background… which means IF you feature, it’s 0.5 of a flitting second at most!
It’s a good ego check to realise you put in 4 hours of ‘pause – repeat – pause – repeat’ only to be a blur behind the main act! But tons of fun none-the-less!

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Yoga Pilates with Kim Aguilar Danoher